Science’s top ten

Science    |    18  December 2014

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Each year, Science magazine chooses a singular scientific development as Breakthrough of the Year. This year, the Rosetta mission to “comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko” took the crown.  This YouTube clip looks at the “top ten” scientific developments in 2014, as judged by Science.

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Comet rendezvous

This year’s breakthrough captured the public’s imagination with a series of hard-won pictures, beamed to Earth from a place beyond Mars. First: an image of a spindly, three-legged thing, framed against the blackness of space, falling toward a comet nearly as black. Would the little Philae lander survive its descent to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?

Soon, other pictures arrived. One revealed the dusty surface where Philae initially, and briefly, touched down. The lander, equipped with harpoons, screws, and reverse thrusters that didn’t work, failed to gain purchase in the surprisingly hard comet crust, and so it rebounded in the barely-there gravity. Then came some disorienting, ominous images. Philae appeared to have come to rest on its side, far from its intended landing spot, in the shadows of a cliff.

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